This year, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Downpatrick is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its Charter being granted by King James I. Down Cathedral is also reputedly the burial place of Saint Patrick. Last night, while marking this history, the cathedral hosted a marvellous and inspiring event. The Spirit of Patrick, that missionary endeavour and lifetime of obedience was marked in the lives of five very special Christians.
The individuals were Sheila Jebb, Cecil and Myrtle Kerr, Cyril McIlhenny and Helen Roseveare. Between them, they have served as missionary nurses and doctors in Africa, founded the Christian Renewal Centre in Rostrevor, and envisioned and accomplished youthwork and parish development. Their stories and achievements were shared and celebrated through videos and an interview by the BBC's Mark Simpson.
The evening was boosted by music from the New Irish Orchestra and Choir, directed by Jonathan Rea. They played and sang magnificently, and encouraged the joyful congregational singing from the packed cathedral.
As Bishop Harold said himself, it was a great idea, and the only downside of the night was that each person only had too short a time to share their story! For all who attended, it was an encouragement to trust and obey the faithful God. A great night!